The AWS ReInvent Conference Recap

Last week I attended AWS ReInvent in Las Vegas. It was the largest conference I’ve been to with 9000 people, and a crazy number of sessions. When I was trying to decide what sessions to go to, I realized I had multiple conflicts at every slot (a good problem to have). It was also one of the funnest conferences I’ve been to, and I’ll be back next year (a bit more prepared next time around).

I’ll post about the sessions I went to, but the following are my favorite highlights from the conference:

  • Day 2 keynote with Werner Vogels: After a more marketing and “C” centric keynote on day 1, the day 2 keynote was tuned more to the large developer crowd in the audience, and I left inspired. Check out all my notes here.
  • Expo Hall: Holy cow! I got tired after walking around just 1/2 this hall. According to the booklet, there were maybe over 170 sponsors, and it took a while to walk through and check out what everyone was doing. The expo hall was also packed the first couple of days, so I went on the 3rd day when things were a lot quieter (pro tip: If you want the best swag, go the first day), but it also gave me a chance to talk to more of the folks in a leisurely manner! My 2 favorite highlights about the expo hall were Datadog (Most enthusiastic even on day 3), and Cloudability (who knew that I was a customer of theirs even though I didn’t realize another team at Mentor used the product; I thought that was pretty awesome!).
  • Crazy number of sessions: I’m glad these are all on YouTube now. I hear the slides are also going to be online in a bit. This will give me a way to catch up on the sessions that I missed out on.
  • AWS Hands on labs: This was pretty cool! You could skip a session or two and do a hands on lab on an AWS technology. I spent some time doing a hands on learning AWS beanstalk, and it was totally worthwhile.
  • Day 1 (Tuesday): I only got in on Tuesday, but next time I’ll need to register in time to be a part of the hackathon or gameday. I talked to a bunch of folks who attended these, and they ended up having a great time at both of these. The Gameday was pretty cool as well and was targeted at DevOps folks. You ended up forming a team with a bunch of other folks and had to build an application infrastructure that was resilient to any kind of breakage. Then, you’d swap your credentials with another team, and they would try to break your infrastructure; you can imagine how this would end up being entertaining!
  • Meeting up with folks, and catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while.
  • VEGAS! It was good to not lose at the roulette tables this time around 🙂

A lot of developer friends commented that the talks were light on technical side of things, which I thought was true; the way I got more out of these was actually talking to the product managers and the customer at the end of the talk to ask and understand some of the more technical concepts. This is true for most conferences, but was especially true for this one.

Stay tuned for a bunch of post conference session updates!

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